Tommy Lee, a two-time All-Around cowboy winner in the Nevada High School Rodeo Association, has been named as Western Nevada Community College's first rodeo coach.
Lee earned an associate degree at West Hills Community College in Coalinga, Calif. and attended UNLV. Lee returned to Fallon to operate a 100-acre farm.
"I'm really happy to be back and I'm excited about the opportunity to start and coach the rodeo team," Lee said. "It's the only college-level team in Northern Nevada, So I think we'll have good luck recruiting athletes who want to go to college and participate in rodeo."
In addition to coaching the team, Lee will teache horse management at the Fallon campus. The school also plans to offer three rodeo management classes.
The new team is based at the WNCC Fallon campus, but is open to all interested and eligible students. WNCC's rodeo team will participate in the West Coast Regional of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
The college has already been accepted for NIRA membership and the plan is for the WNCC rodeo team to begin competition this fall and to host an event in November in Fallon.
NIRA is divided into 11 regions and has more than 135 member colleges. Teams compete in about 10 rodeos a year in an effort to earn a trip to the College National Finals Rodeo, the "Rose Bowl" of college rodeo. There are more than 350 cowboys and cowgirls who compete for national titles and more than $200,000 in scholarships.
To be eligible for the WNCC rodeo team, students must be enrolled full-time in a degree program with a minimum of 12 credits per semester and maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0. The team will include 10 members who will compete in NIRA events to earn points, but more students can practice with the team and participate in rodeos.
Students are being recruited from WNCC's service area, including Fallon and Churchill County, Gardnerville/Minden, Yerington, Carson City, Virginia City, Dayton, Silver Springs, Fernley, Hawthorne and Lovelock.
The team is funded entirely through private donations and scholarships. For more information about the team or the WNCC Rodeo Booster Club, call the Fallon campus, (775) 423-7565.